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Insight & Analysis - June 23, 2022

Top 5 Most Innovative African Countries 

The continent has seen a flood of innovative ideas, especially in the financial technology sector, which has helped some African countries move up the global economic ladder.

Despite the impressive achievement, the continent is still on the lowest rung of the seven continents due to its incapacity to execute cutting-edge inventions in fields such as artificial intelligence. This, in turn, indicates that the continent has a long way to go.

Notwithstanding this, some African countries are making their mark on inventions. In the Global Innovation Index (GII) in 2021, some African countries were ranked in the top 100 most innovative economies.

This was based on Institutions, Human capital and research, Infrastructure, Market sophistication, Business sophistication, Knowledge and technology outputs, and Creative outputs. Let’s have a look. 


Globally, Mauritius ranks 52nd among the most innovative African countries for its human development efforts. The country has experienced economic expansion, particularly in financial services, tourism, and information technology.

In terms of the region with the most innovative economy, the Eastern country takes the first place. On the global innovative index, it scores 35.2.

To boost innovation in the country, Mauritius offers residency by innovation. Its Innovator Occupation Permit welcomes ambitious business owners and startups whose primary focus is on research and development to support Mauritius’ innovation ecosystem.

South Africa

Between 2011 and 2021, South Africa’s average innovation score was 35.63 points to 32.7 points in 2021. It had the highest point of 38.2 in 2014.

The southernmost nation experienced innovation throughout many industries, especially in manufacturing, engineering, technology, and trade. Also, nearly 70% of South African enterprises were actively engaged in innovation.

This indicated that they had implemented some organisational, financial, technological, scientific, or commercial progress in innovation.

The country, however, has the highest tendency for innovation if it can retain and develop inventive thinkers – many of whom are lost to emigration to the United States and the United Kingdom.


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Kenya ranks 85th in the global innovation index and 3rd based on region. In terms of innovation score, it has 27.5 points.

Kenya has earned the name “Africa’s Silicon Valley” due to its prominence in information technology (ICT) development. Some of its notable inventions range from placing a charger in shoes to charge your phone while you’re on the go or linking an alarm to a TV to discourage robbers.

Also, the country founded Kenya Innovation Week (KIW), which the Kenya National Innovation Agency operates to encourage innovative ideas. It aims to foster innovation by showcasing Kenyans’ inventiveness to advance the Big 4 Agenda and Vision 2030 national goals.

Cabo Verde

Cabo Verde ranks 89th in the global innovation index and 4th based on region. In terms of innovation score, it has 25.7 points.

Cabo Verde performed better in innovation outputs than innovation inputs in 2021. In terms of innovative inputs, Cabo Verde was 96th higher than 2020. Cabo Verde ranked 88th in innovative outputs, which was also better than 2020.


Tanzania ranks 90th in the global innovation index and 3rd based on region. In terms of innovation score, it has 25.6 points.

Tanzania scored an average of 26.37 points between 2011 and 2021, with the lowest point of 23.9 in 2012. Tanzania recorded the highest point of 28.1 in 2018.


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